Beaufort News

Beaufort County school board passes budget that includes iPads, calls for tax hike

The Beaufort County Board of Education has approved a $177.9 million budget that calls for a property tax increase.

The budget includes raises for all district staff, but would eliminate 30 positions. It includes a $1.8 million technology initiative to put iPads in eighth- and ninth-grade classrooms.

The raises are mostly state-mandated. District chief of operations Phyllis White told the board Friday that the state would likely call for a 2 percent raise for teachers, costing the district about $2 million.

The budget also calls for a 3 percent raise for classified staff, which includes school secretaries, at a cost of about $920,000.

Teachers and administrators would also receive a step increase. Those raises were frozen this school year, and the increase would be based on teachers' salary step levels in the 2010-11 fiscal year, White said.

The budget was approved Friday by a unanimous vote, with board member Steven Morello absent.

Even with the proposed property tax increase, which White said would total about $30 on a $250,000 non-owner occupied home, the district still expects to draw about $788,000 from reserves.

Much of the conversation Friday centered on implementing a technology initiative the board approved Monday. Board members had expressed concern that the district was moving too fast to put iPads in some classrooms and that the initiative had not been fully researched.

Superintendent Valerie Truesdale told the board that a team of principals and district administrators had been researching and discussing technology in the classroom for about two years, including an iPad initiative. The team has been actively researching the use of iPads in the classroom since January.

iPads would be placed in eighth- and ninth-grade classrooms in all district middle and high schools and would be paid for with both operating funds and federal money given to schools with high poverty rates.

Teachers would be trained extensively on the new technology this summer, Truesdale said.

The County Council must approve the school district's budget, including any property tax increases. The council's first reading of the budget and a public hearing are scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday at the Hilton Head Island library.

Related content

  1. Beaufort County School Board delays budget vote; May 15, 2012
  2. Tax increase could bring iPads to Beaufort County schools; May 14, 2012
  3. District aims to increase expectations, college readiness focus at high schools; May 13, 2012
  4. Parents urge school district to avoid cuts to academics; April 10, 2012
  5. School board discusses $6 million in possible budget cuts; March 30, 2012
  6. Beaufort County school board begins to talk budget; Feb. 21, 2012